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Our First Lady

Rev. Dr. Debbie Ardella Strickling-Bullock


Deborrah Ardella Strickling-Bullock, affectionately known as Dr. Debbie, is a licensed and ordained Christian minister graced with exceptional gifts. As a devoted servant within the Baptist church for over 50 years and a baptized believer since the age of 12, she is driven by a desire to foster an environment that encourages personal and spiritual growth. Dr. Debbie diligently works to create spaces where individuals can explore their inherent strengths and discover their potential by discovering and utilizing their gifts, contributing to expanding the Kingdom of God.


Dr. Debbie graduated summa cum laude earning a Master of Divinity from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, where she received the distinguished Ella P. Mitchell Preaching Award for excellence in homiletics and Christian education. She also holds a Doctor of Education and a Master's in Human Resources Management from Wilmington University and a Bachelor's in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resource Certification Institute and a Career Development Facilitator and Instructor by the Center on Education and Work, University of Wisconsin - Madison.


Dr. Debbie has over 35 years of professional experience in workforce management, business operations, and education administration, serving in specialist and leadership roles at Citibank, Xerox Corporation, Layton Home, St. Francis Hospital, Computer Sciences Corporation, Brandywine School District, and Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. She has contributed to academia by researching and implementing career advancement strategies for women, succession planning for educational leaders, and best practices in leadership development for faith-based organizations. Dr. Debbie taught in the Doctoral Studies program at Wilmington University and the School of Education at Delaware State University, served as an evaluator for the Secondary Schools External Review Assessment Team of the Leadership Assessment Center, was a member of the Master's Plus Certification Advisory Board at the University of Delaware and the Professional Standards Board – Licensing and Certification at Delaware Department of Education, and hosted the inaugural Delaware Alliance of Black School Educators Conference and Christian Women's Retreat. Dr. Debbie has facilitated workshops on a national stage with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. and the International Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows, Inc.


Dr. Debbie is an accomplished classical pianist with perfect pitch, a dynamic choir director, gospel music composer, and prolific author, having penned two books, "It's All Good: When Lessons Lead to Blessings" and "It's All Good: Every Round Goes Higher," and song recording, "Turn to Jesus," which is featured on the Arvis Strickling-Jones Live in Concert record album. In her multifaceted role, she serves as the Executive Pastor at Canaan Baptist Church of Delaware, a Flight Attendant for American Airlines, an advocate for Baptist women in ministry, and the coordinator for the Hartley Family Reunion.


Dr. Debbie was born and raised in San Francisco, California, to Rev. James Abram Strickling, Sr., D.D. (deceased) of Marianna, Arkansas, and Annie Ruth Hartley-Strickling of Gallman/Crystal Springs, Mississippi, and she is the youngest of 11 siblings. Dr. Debbie shares her life with her husband of over 36 years, Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock of Wichita, Kansas, Pastor of the Canaan Baptist Church of Delaware; their two sons, Benjamin Ellis (Anya) and Daniel Alan, and three grandchildren, Daniel Christopher, Isabella Joenelle, and Isaiah Benjamin. Dr. Debbie finds strength and guidance in her reliance on the Holy Spirit and the comforting words of Romans 8:28 (NIV): "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Each day, she endeavors to fulfill her purpose, watering the seeds planted so that God will give the increase and receive Glory for the things He has done.

To reach Dr. Debbie, please send an e-mail to

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